The hype around Lulu's opening initially in August was unreal, but worth every minute of waiting patiently in line. It was only three weeks later that Hurricane Laura would put a temporary stop to Ashley and Jonathan's newfound passion. Lulu's loyal fans kept up with their recovery via social media, where Ashley and her team do a wonderful job of telling their very vibrant and compassionate story. There was no slowing down just because their building was damaged.
As weeks passed after Hurricanes Laura and Delta, I followed along as Lulu's actively helped the displaced, vulnerable, and first responders in our community and participated in numerous relief efforts. I was so compelled to reach out to Ashley to write a second story, because I was blown away to see how humble and gracious they were even though they lost their home and business.
They also used this idle time to revamp their menu, meet with business owners for future collaborations, improved logistics, and the storefront's appearance. Trust me when I say that Lulu's is an experience, not just a scone stand. You will leave feeling like a part of their family and planning your next trip!
Here is a little insight with co-owner, Ashley, into what you can expect at the new and improved Lulu's:
Q: When did Lulu’s first open? How long were y’all closed before you reopened after Laura and Delta?
A: Lulu’s first opened on August 1, 2020. We were open 3 weeks before Hurricane Laura and reopened on March 12, 2021.
Q: What was it like coming back to Lulu’s after the storms?
A: It was surreal driving back into the city. I was so nervous driving down Country Club Road. I was relieved to see our building still standing. It had roof damage on all sides, but I figured it wasn't too bad. Then going inside I realized it was worse than I thought. The ceiling over our kitchen had caved in. I was thankful to have a building still, but it still hurt to see all of our hard work covered in debris.
Q: What did you learn about your local supporters during this time?
A: They never stopped cheering us on! Even though we were fairly new, our supporters were faithful and strong cheering us on to rebuild ASAP!
Q: What efforts did you coordinate for recovery as far as assisting the community or reaching out to employees?
A: The first thing we did was make sure our employees were safe and had all they needed to rebuild ASAP. Then, we coordinated an 18 wheeler of ice to come to Southwest Louisiana, so we could serve free snocones to those working in the heat. Our team didn't hesitate to jump in and help, because we know that serving people is one way our hearts and souls could heal after seeing the devastation.
Q: Did you take the opportunity to make changes to Lulu’s after the storm - either with the structure, menu items, or different marketing efforts?
A: We added a few menu items, updated our equipment, and hired more staff!
Q: What was the most challenging obstacle with rebuilding and reopening Lulu’s?
A: Being able to work fast enough. We know everyone was doing all they could, but we just wanted to get open faster so our employees could work again! It's a lot of pressure knowing people are relying on you, and we didn't want to let them down.
Q: With the pandemic and two hurricanes, the food and beverage businesses have been through so much. What have you learned over this trying time as a business owner and how have you grown as both an employer and on a personal level?
A: We have learned just how important relationships are. It's so important to help others rebuild during the time we were waiting and idle. Always keep moving because someone needs you. We may not have been able to run our business, but we could ensure that others could by helping them get going!
Q: What do you envision the future of Lulu’s to be?
A: To be a place of joy and memories being made. I want people to talk about the times they spent together enjoying our treats!